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GENERAL ELECTION 8TH JUNE 2017 -

THE DEATH OF NEW LABOUR


Posted 16 June 2017


 Among the mass of doubtful analysis of the  election by media commentators, one single comment stands out like a blinding light.


   “Blairism is dead”, Robert Peston of ITV tweeted on election night. What precisely is the nature of this beast, and who slayed it?  


   The most common view of Blairite New Labour is that it was the most rightward extreme reached by the Labour Party in its history, but this is a dreadfully dangerous misunderstanding. This is to see the difference between New Labour and “Old Labour”, (for want of a better term), as merely a quantitative difference, while the actual difference was qualitative. It was, or at least was intended to be, a different kind of party altogether.


  We are now all familiar with Margaret Thatcher’s claim to have been the creator of New Labour. She claims it as her greatest achievement, saying, “we persuaded our enemies they were wrong and they agreed with us”. She was, of course, speaking of Blair and his cohorts. Didn’t this make them Tories?


  Not actually, at least not in practice. Blair once named Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman, the archetypal nineteenth century Liberal leader, as his ideal statesman, and this was the kind of party New Labour was intended to be.  The task that Thatcher had set the Blairites was to transform the Labour Party along these lines.


   So the Blairites set out to junk socialism all together. “Socialism, remember that?” said Blair. Away went clause four, the democratic life of the Party was dismembered under the weasel-word “modernisation”. The constitution was changed to undermine union influence. They couldn’t oust the unions completely though we can be sure that was the intention, and they obliged Thatcher by adding a further twelve anti-trade union laws to the thirteen of her own. (Thatcher loathed the unions with a loathing born of fear after the beating she got from the miners).  


   The key to the whole plan was to finance the Party entirely from capitalist sources such as the corrupt Hinduja brothers, whom the Sunday times put at the top of their rich list with £16.2 bn. When they thought it safe they introduced one man one vote for the leadership election and nominated Corbyn for an aunt sally to knock down to discredit the left.


   Had all this worked according to plan, the Labour Party would have been qualitatively transformed into a party of capitalism as an alternative to the Tories and our political system would have been the same as the American model, two capitalist parties and no working class party. Surely this was Thatcher’s intention and the Blairites tried hard to please her.


   Then it all blew up in their faces. Correctly though the Blairites may have estimated the situation inside the Party, they left the key element out of the equation, the working class! How dumb can they be? Hundreds of thousands of workers and youth joined the Party, Corbyn won not one but two leadership elections, and now he has mortally wounded the Tory beast at the polls.Of course the Blairites will fight back, and no doubt they will continue to have the support of the ruling class, but the masses have delivered them an unassailable political advantage.


   However, the crucial thing to understand is that no one in the leadership of the Labour Party can take the credit for slaying the New Labour beast. As Lenin insisted, the masses are always a hundred times to the left of the leaders. It was the historic upsurge of political initiative by the masses themselves that saved the situation, correcting the leadership from below, a clear manifestation of the revolutionary essence of the working class. Labour must now be nursed back to health by restoring its democratic systems, restoring trade union freedoms and fighting for the interests of the working class. As for Corbyn, he is an inspiration to the working class youth and has earned himself a place in working class history.


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THE LABOUR SPLIT – A HISTORIC MOMENT

Posted 4/7/2016  


 The Labour Party was founded at a special conference of trade unions, co-operative societies and socialist organisations on 27th. and 28th. February 1900 at the Memorial Hall in London in the form of the Labour Representation Committee.  Two proposals were put to the conference, one by the Social Democratic Federation and another by Keir Hardie. The proposal put by the SDF called for “a distinct party. . . separate from the capitalist parties, based upon the recognition of the class war, having for its ultimate object the socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange”, but Hardie’s proposal was for “a distinct labour group who shall have their own whips and agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to co-operate with any party which, for the time being, may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour, or in opposing measures having an opposite tendency.” 


    The difference between these two proposals is as chalk and cheese. The SDF proposal recognised that the party must be a free and independent class party ready to use all means, parliamentary or otherwise, to achieve the emancipation of the working class through social revolution, that is, a scientifically founded socialist party, while Hardie’s proposal tied the working class to the coat-tails of the capitalists through the parliamentary system.


   This acceptance that relations between the classes must be regulated by parliament, and the confused idea that capitalist parties might legislate in the interests of the working class, was implicit acceptance of the continuation of the existing class division of society and the hegemony of the capitalist class through the parliamentary system.  Hardie’s proposal was adopted, hence the Labour Party came into existence in the first place as an organisation specifically opposed to socialism since the SDF proposal was rejected. The proviso that the Labour MP’s would form what we know today as the Parliamentary Labour Party which would “have its own whips and agree upon their policy” made sure that the workers could never mandate or have any control over their MP’s whatsoever.  That is why the Labour Party annual conference has absolutely no control over individual Labour MP’s or the Parliamentary Party


   The conflict between the broad Party membership led by Corbyn on the one side, and the right wing MP’s on the other, is the expression of the contradiction built into the Party constitution in 1900. It is clear that the Corbyn side stands for the Social Democratic Federation idea of the Party, while the right wing MP’s stand for Keir Hardie’s idea.


   This idea, that the Individual MP’s can take advantage of the Party finance and support, yet are free to ignore its wishes as determined through conferences etc., found its completed expression in the form   of the Blairite “New Labour” phenomenon. This political entity was essentially the creation of Margaret Thatcher. When asked what she considered her greatest achievement, she is reported as saying “New Labour; we convinced our enemies that they were wrong and to agree with us.”


   The result was the junking of any thought of socialism and the attempt to “heal the wounds of society” and “unite the country under one leadership” by denying the class conflict essential to capitalism. In this way New Labour brought us to the brink of the corporate state and fascism. We have only to remember the history of fascism so far to convince ourselves of this. It has always been individuals and organisations of the reformist social democratic persuasion that have ushered in the fascist regimes. Mussolini was a leader of the Italian socialist party, the reformist socialists betrayed the Republican Government of Spain to Franco, Hitler hid behind socialism with his National “Socialist” Workers Party, and in Britain Moseley was a leading member of the Labour Party.  


   The support for Corbyn, 450,000 new members and counting, is a development of historical importance. It is the spontaneous working class response to the New Labour project. Much attention is at present focused on Parliament and Corbyn’s future as leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party, but the essence of the class struggle does not lie here. The Party will split. The right wing will constitute a new organisation together with other elements such as splinters from the EDL, Tories and Lib. Dems. The mass of the Party will follow Corbyn. How much of the Parliamentary Party will follow him remains to be seen, but even if none at all, even if all that is achieved is a mass democratic party dedicated to socialism capable of intervention in Parliament, then the British working class will have made the greatest leap forward in its entire history.


 Democracy and the “Omnipotence of Wealth”

 Posted 16/5/2016

  

   There is currently a chorus of complaints emanating from “left” individuals and organisations concerning the loss of the democratic systems and rights we have become used to during the progressive stages of the capitalist system, which have now passed into history. This situation, it is understood, is the result of the life and death need of the capitalist class to increase the rate of exploitation of labour to an impossible degree.


   However, it is clear that there is no real understanding of this situation because the universal response is to concentrate entirely on the defence of this democracy and the rights related to it, and attempts to extend it.


   But the last thing we need to do is to defend and perpetuate this system of democracy, because it is essentially bourgeois democracy, the parliamentary kind, part of the state and entirely bound up with the capitalist economic system, and as such a means of oppressing and exploiting the working class.  The idea that any such democracy is ultimately better than none at all, better than, say, fascist dictatorship, is only relatively true. Here is what Lenin, writing in 1917, has to say on this matter:


   “The reason why the omnipotence of ‘wealth’ is more certain in a democratic republic is that it does not depend on individual defects in the political machinery or on the faulty political shell of capitalism. A democratic republic is the best possible political shell for capitalism, and, therefore, once capitalism has gained possession of this very best shell (through Palchinskys, Chernovs, Tseretelis and Co.), it establishes its power so securely, so firmly, that no change of persons, institutions or parties in the bourgeois-democratic republic can shake it”. (The State and Revolution, Lenin’s Collected Works, Vol. 25, page 398. This work is widely available in pamphlet form and is an absolute must for all working class activists. The persons mentioned were socialists of the Utopian, reformist kind, such as populate the Labour Party.)


   More bureaucratic regimes, such as directories, fascist dictatorships, etc., are much less stable than a democracy. In such regimes the resistance of the people, failure of an individual or in-fighting between groups can easily bring the whole system down. But in a democracy, with its free press, parliamentary opposition, political analysts etc., there are alternative political parties, whole cadres and many individuals ready to feed the political machine and keep it properly functioning. Thus when scandal threatens, and the tax dodgers, frauds, bribe takers, paedophiles and other such scum who rise to the top of the parliamentary cauldron in pursuit of the careers are found out and are forced to retire to “spend more time with their families”, there are plenty of replacements available to heal the wounds of the system.


  This is why, when the imperialists crush some weaker regime by military might, the puppet government they install through “regime change” is always a democracy. It is the best system to guarantee “the omnipotence of wealth”, the enslavement of the working class.



 Military Dictatorship - A Real and Present Threat


21/9/2015


  In 1971 a book entitled Low Intensity Operations written by one Brigadier, (later General), Frank Kitson appeared.  Concerned with oppressive measures against an insurgent population, it was a blueprint for police military dictatorship, advocating re-organisation of army, police and other authorities for joint measures to suppress the population. Kitson outlines his approach to the question thus:-

 

   “If a genuine and serious grievance arose, such as might result from a significant drop in the standard of living, all those who now dissipate their protest over a wide variety of causes might concentrate their efforts and produce a situation which was beyond the power of the police to handle.  Fumbling at this juncture might have grave consequences even to the extent of undermining the confidence in the whole system of government.” (Low Intensity Operations, page 25, F. Kitson, Faber and Faber Ltd. Since the copyright holder is Her Majesty’s Stationary Office we may conclude that the State itself takes responsibility for this book.)

 

   The first thing we note is that Kitson speaks of genuine, that is, justified grievance, and since the army is in its very essence a violent organisation, he is speaking of violent oppression of justified protest.  His warning against “fumbling” is chilling to say the least.  Clearly he is in favour of rapid and very violent measures. On page 29 he goes on to say that “no campaign of subversion will make headway unless it is based on a cause with a wide popular appeal.”  “Protest”, in Kitson’s sloppy unscientific lexicon, has now become “subversion”, but which ever word we use if it is justified and has wide appeal then violent suppression by military means is criminal and must be resisted by all means. This kind of criminality, which is the essence of fascism, is clearly expressed by Kitson. Speaking of the difficulty presented to the government in the matter judging precisely the right moment to apply violent measures against a peacefully protesting population, Kitson says:-

 

   “In practice this is difficult to achieve because for a long time the government may be unaware that a significant threat exists, and in any case in a so-called free country it is regarded as the opposite of freedom to restrict the spread of a political idea.  This seems to apply even when the idea is communism which openly declares itself determined to stamp out freedom itself, and which may well finish up by ordering the country’s foreign policy for the benefit of another power such as Russia or China, rather than in the interests of the people of the country concerned” (Op. Cit., page 67).

 

   Do we live in a free country?  Clearly this odious spokesman for the ruling class regards the whole concept of a “so-called” free country with more than a degree of contempt, and at the same time the question of when to use violent means to suppress justified protest which is based on a wide appeal is seen as a matter of expediency. When and where did any communist openly declare himself determined to stamp out all freedom?  How would such insane behaviour secure the “spread of his political idea”? We can safely say that no communist ever said any such thing; the only freedom communists wish to suppress is the freedom of the reactionary capitalist class to monopolise the means of production, and until this freedom is finally negated no other freedom is safe. Finally, we note that Kitson, with his suggestion that communists advocated the subordination of the country’s foreign policy to the needs of the Soviet Union and China, makes the deliberate mistake of equating communism with its bitter enemy, Stalinism. Clearly, Kitson believes that, in addition to criminal violence, the outrageous lie is an acceptable tool in his struggle to rob the people of the last vestiges of their freedom. If the reader is left in doubt as to the means and the ends Kitson advocates, (with the official approval of the state), let him speak for himself:-

 

   “An excellent example concerns the way in which the law should work.  Broadly speaking there are two alternatives, the first being that the law should be used as just another weapon in the government’s arsenal, and in that case it becomes little more than a propaganda cover for the disposal of unwanted members of the public.” (Op. Cit., page 69).

 

  This surely speaks for itself; all that is missing from Kitson’s neo-Nazi proposal is the gas chamber. We shall not bore the reader with the second alternative because although Kitson does not realise it, it is just the same as the first but garbled and expressed in different words.




Seize the Time


18/9/2015


   The world economic crisis which began in 2008 is generally recognised to be the biggest crash since the 1930’s, and once again it has been the cause of war. The attempt by capitalism to escape its plight constitutes a gigantic fraud on the working class.


   As usual, the enemies of socialism found it necessary to implement what are in essence socialist measures; government regulation of the economy. In April 2009 the G20 (a world forum of governments and financial institutions) agreed that governments would support bankrupt banks with an injection of $7 trillion. In Britain, the figure was £955 billion. This money was to be borrowed from banks which were, formally at least, still solvent, but like anyone else who borrows money the governments were obliged to pay it back at some stage. Where did they expect to get it?


   There is only one place from which such wealth could gathered, the working class, and it is necessary to explain how the system of abstracting value from the working class under capitalism works, but we must be very brief. (The reader is referred to Volume One of Capital by Karl Marx for full explanation).


   All the wealth available to society presents itself as a vast conglomeration of commodities. (Here we include “services” under the general heading of commodities). The value of a commodity is determined by the necessary labour time it takes to make it, and all wealth is created by labour. Labour, or rather the capacity to labour, labour-power, is also a commodity since it is carried out not for the labourers own consumption but for exchange, that is, for the wages his employer, the capitalist, pays him to produce the commodity. But since the capitalist takes a profit he must appropriate some of the value contained in the commodity, hence the labourer never receives back in wages the full value of what he has produced. This constitutes a fraud on the worker.


   But this fraud rebounds on the capitalists. The workers must consume as well as produce. We are the market, and since we have not been paid the full value of the commodities we have produced then we cannot buy them all back. The result, particularly in the nineteenth century, has been crises of over production. Capitalist go bankrupt, production ceases, and we all starve amid mountains of wealth in the form of commodities which cannot be sold.


   How did the capitalists wriggle out of this one? By the extension of credit. Commodities were sold on the understanding that they would be paid for later, but this was no real solution because in the future, as well as in the present moment, the workers would continue to be paid less in wages than the value of the commodities produced, hence credit could never solve the problem, but only delay the next crisis. In these circumstances the gap between what the workers produced and what they could buy back, and the credit related to it, would only go on increasing without end, and each crisis became deeper than the last. Capitalists, understandably, began to abandon ship and refuse to extend further credit and this produced new crises, crises of credit.


   Since there was obviously no solution to this on the basis of the free market it became necessary for governments to come to the rescue. Enter John Maynard Keynes with his cunning plan. Just print money and call it value. Over the years, particularly since the Second World War, this has resulted in the printing of paper money and the extension of credit to such a monstrous extend that no words can express the situation. Just think – seven trillion – what does it mean? And that is only a tiny fraction of the sums involved. This printing of paper money and extension of credit we call fictitious value, since it does not represent any real usable wealth in the form of commodities. It can only prop up the system so long as everyone trusts the paper currency, but as soon as a capitalist here and there loses faith a rout ensues and the system collapses. This brings us to 2008.


   Governments borrowed money from solvent banks to prop up the insolvent, like patching a hole in a sinking ship by taking a plank from somewhere else, and their method of repaying what they call “the public debt” (actually there is nothing public about it – it is the capitalists’ debt, not the public’s) is beginning to be clear. In August 2015 the Government sold off a tranche of the shares it had bought in the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2008 at a loss of £1.1 billion to the tax payer. In effect this means taking £1.1 billion from the working class and giving it to the capitalists.


   Having defrauded the working class in the workplace, (wages), the capitalists now defraud us in the marketplace. When are we going to get these criminals off our backs?


   But at last there is a ray of hope. A real fighter for the working class, Jeremy Corbyn, has arrived at the head of the Labour Party. It is true that he has no other answer to the crisis than printing more money, “quantitative easing”, but while this cannot be a real solution it can buy us a little precious time, and we must use this to the best possible effect.  We must strain every muscle to educate and train workers and youth in the theory of scientific socialism and the history of the working class struggle.


  With a leadership trained in the scientific theory of socialism we can transform society to planned economy. The workers will be paid the full value for their labour, they will be able to buy it all back, there will be no need for credit or printing money, and the whole problem will be solved. Humanity will have a future.



A dangerous Situation


14/9/2015


The fundamental contradiction which rents the labour movement in two is now making itself sharply apparent. The people have given the Labour Party a powerful mandate for socialism, but the leaders of the so called “Parliamentary Party” are opposed to him.


The difficult thing is that the Labour Party was founded on this contradiction when it was formed as the Labour Representation Committee in 1900. A proposal committing the Party to socialism and proper democratic centralist organisation, with all members subject to the discipline of the annual conference, was rejected. Instead, it was decided to adopt the proposal put by Keir Hardie, which said the those elected to Parliament would form “a distinct labour group who shall have their own whips and agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to co-operate with any party which, for the time being, may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour, or in opposing measures having an opposite tendency.” This meant that the so called “Parliamentary Party” is free to ignore the Conference and go its own way


Thus Keir Hardie built the mechanism of betrayal into the very fabric of the Labour Party right at the beginning. As a result, there are those in the leadership of the “Parliamentary Party” who feel free to sabotage every move Jeremy Corbyn makes.


At the same time the reaction of the Blairites and Tories is one of panic stricken fear. In the coming struggles, particularly on the trade union bill, we can expect to see a return to the Thatcherite days of heavy policing and all that went with it.



Labour and the Trade Unions

13/9/2015

Labour, in opposition, must challenge the Tories on their proposed anti-union legislation.


Let them challenge the Tories to put their proposal back till after the next general election. Let the people decide, through a general election, whether we want free trade unions of not.


Keir Hardie and Socialism


11/9/2015


   Predictably those fighting a rear-guard action for New Labour have trotted out their great mentor. Keir Hardie. Let’s take a look at him.

   

  James Keir Hardie was a Scottish miner, a trade union leader, a member of the Liberal Party and founder member of the Independent Labour Party.  Today he is regarded by some in the Labour Party as a kind of saintly founding father, and commands enormous respect, but time and a sloppy approach to history have produced a distorted image.  In fact, he was hopelessly muddle headed and his Utopian socialist credentials seem to rest on the fact that he claimed to be a socialist more often than he claimed to be anything else, and both Engels and Lenin regarded him as an unprincipled opportunist.   His class collaborationist and opportunist outlook are apparent in everything he said and did;  when he drafted the rules of the Ayrshire Miners Association in 1881 he denied that a state of industrial conflict existed, and looked forward to a time "when the war hatchet will be buried for ever, and when capital and labour shall meet together under a roof tree, to smoke the pipe of peace, and as the smoke ascends it shall carry with it into oblivion all the feeling of discord that ever existed between those twin brothers whose best interests are inseparable." (Keir Hardie, Radical and Socialist, Kenneth O. Morgan, p.13).

  

  Here we see the basic idea behind New Labour and the “gang of four” who split from Labour to form the Lib. Dems. in 1981 – the thoroughly false conception that the fundamental economic and social antagonism between the classes can be overcome by political expediency, whilst leaving them in being with one class oppressing and exploiting another.  History has disproved it many times in various ways according to the classes involved. It has been proved once again - New Labour is an abysmally failed experiment.

  

  The ILP stood 28 candidates in the 1895 General Election and all were defeated, including Keir Hardie, who, obsessed with Parliamentary power to the exclusion of all else, scoured the country for another seat and eventually focused his attention on Preston in Lancashire and Merthyr in South Wales.  On receiving the nomination for Preston he announced that  "My personal preference would have been for the mining constituency in Wales, and I should have gone there but for the fact that during the coal strike some 4,000 miners became disenfranchised."  (Lancashire Daily Post, 26 Sept. 1900)   Thus Hardie, the miners leader, seemed only to be interested in them so long as they had a vote, and if 4,000 miners in Merthyr had lost their householders vote because they had been evicted from their cottages as the result of a strike, living rough on the mountainside with their families, then he would go to Preston.  In the event he was nominated in Merthyr, and incredibly, stood in both constituencies, lost in Preston, but was successful in Merthyr as the result of disunity in the ranks of the local Liberal Party.  

  

 The Labour Party was founded at a special conference of trade unions, co-operative societies and socialist organisations on 27th. and 28th. February 1900 at the Memorial Hall in London in the form of the Labour Representation Committee.  Two proposals were put to the conference, one by the Social Democratic Federation and another by Keir Hardie. The proposal put by the SDF called for “a distinct party. . . separate from the capitalist parties, based upon the recognition of the class war, having for its ultimate object the socialisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange”, but Hardie’s proposal was for “a distinct labour group who shall have their own whips and agree upon their policy, which must embrace a readiness to co-operate with any party which, for the time being, may be engaged in promoting legislation in the direct interests of labour, or in opposing measures having an opposite tendency.” 

  

  The difference between these two proposals is as chalk and cheese. The SDF proposal recognised that the party must be a free and independent class party ready to use all means, parliamentary or otherwise, to achieve the emancipation of the working class through social revolution, that is, a scientifically founded socialist party, while Hardie’s proposal tied the working class to the coat-tails of the capitalists through the parliamentary system.

   This acceptance that relations between the classes must be regulated by parliament, and the confused idea that capitalist parties might legislate in the interests of the working class, was implicit acceptance of the continuation of the existing class division of society and the hegemony of the capitalist class through the parliamentary system.  Hardie’s proposal was adopted, hence the Labour Party came into existence in the first place as an organisation specifically opposed to socialism since the SDF proposal was rejected. The proviso that the Labour MP’s would form what we know today as the Parliamentary Labour Party which would “have its own whips and agree upon their policy” made sure that the workers could never mandate or have any control over their MP’s whatsoever.  That is why the Labour Party annual conference has absolutely no control over individual Labour MP’s or the Parliamentary Party

 

  Hardie’s record on the First World War is downright shameful. On August 1st. 1914, three days before the official declaration of war, a manifesto was issued on behalf of the organisations affiliated to the Second International which called on the workers to refuse to allow the government to commit the country to war, signed by the main Labour leaders, Keir Hardie and Arthur Henderson.  It took Hardie just thirteen days to change his mind and throw in his lot with the enemies of the working class; in the Merthyr Pioneer on August 14th. he wrote jingoistically, “A nation at war must be united ... With the boom of the enemies guns within earshot the lads who have gone forth to fight their countries battles must not be disheartened by any discordant note at home.” 

  

 Hence Hardie’s attempt at unity between classes led straight to the most horrendous disunity between the working class itself, since he seemed quite happy for workers in different countries to slaughter each other in millions. With “socialists” like Hardie who needs capitalists?



New Labour is Dead – Forward to Socialism


8/9/2015


It seems to be generally recognised that New Labour is dead at last. What a relief!


But what is to replace it? At present the signs are that we shall simply see a return to Old Labour. But Old Labour was the soil in which New Labour was spawned and nurtured. Will history simply repeat itself?  


If it does it will not do so in exactly the same way, and in any case there is another distinct possibility. While the leaders of the working class keep us locked up in such perpetually repeating circles, the fascists are waiting in the wings. Remember Germany in 1933, Chile in 1974, and other such lessons from history without number.


The very least we can say is that very definite measures must be quickly put in place to guard against this danger. First, the working class must be set free by the removal of all restrictions on trade union activity. Second, police powers must be drastically cut back. Labour disputes are none of their business. Most importantly the capitalist class must be disempowered by the complete removal of its wealth. Industry and the banks must be nationalised without compensation, having regard for small investments which are the fruit of wage labour.



A Crucial Moment   


31/8/2015


In several recent postings we have expressed the view that we are living through a time of great historic change. The Corbyn campaign has not only de-stabilised the Labour right, it had now got the Tory government running scared.

 

Cameron, the British Prime Minister, has been forced to recognise the peoples opposition to nuclear arms, Trident, and in defiance of this has been forced to take some action to guarantee its future. From this it is apparent that the Corbyn campaign is beginning to have effect at the level of world politics, not just in Britain. If Britain were to renounce nuclear weapons their existence in the rest of the world (nine countries have them) would encounter fierce opposition, bringing masses of workers into political struggle and upsetting the system of world politics resulting from the Second World War.


Clearly the ruling class cannot allow this to happen, so they are about to get very serious about Corbyn. A wave of reaction is about to begin.


 In the coming period we shall have great opportunities to learn important lessons concerning the quality of political leadership necessary for socialist transformation and the emancipation of the working class. If we miss this opportunity we may not get another for decades. And they will be decades of appalling reaction.


The Hare and the Tortoise


30/8/2015


Right wing “Labour” have been extraordinarily slow at answering the Corbyn challenge. This is because principled politics come un-naturally to them; they know only conspiratorial clique relations and the most savage careerism. We cast them in the role of the tortoise, which, at last, seems to be getting his act together.


The tortoise has come to terms with the fact that Corbyn will be leader and he is making his plans. We know what he will come to – total refusal to co-operate, ostracisation and a barrage of meaningless verbiage such as “unelectable, loony left” etc. with blanket support from the media.


What should the Hare do? Clearly Corbyn will get nothing but lies, obfuscation and sabotage from the right wing so his only course is to act faster than they can. Make a clean break and begin training up a new leadership team from first principles. Replace the entire shadow cabinet with his supporters no matter how inexperienced. They have five years to prepare for government.   Prepare for the Annual Conference with particular attention to the election of the National Executive.


If he acts quickly and boldly he will get the solid support of the working class. Compromise and indecisiveness now could be fatal.



 The Labour Party Split

 

14/8/2015


   The extraordinary arrogance of the Tories and right wing Labour, “New Labour”, as it has been called, is a remarkable political phenomenon. So firmly does it sit that it is clearly born of some deeply held conviction.


   Incredible though it may seem to the working class mind, it begins to appear that these people believe that all their hard work during the Thatcher and New Labour years has actually resulted in some permanent changes in the social fabric.


   The changes to which we refer are of course the anti-trade union laws, the massive increases in police powers, deregulations of all kinds, privatisation of the NHS etc. The list is too long to recount here.


  But none of these measures was based on any kind of social or historical reality or necessity; they were nothing but the unrealistic subjective wishes of about 1% of the British people. But the genie is out of the bottle. The working class is now on the move and all of these measures can be swept away in the coming period.


 The international implications of this are of course very serious, since it will fly in the face of NATO, the IMF, GATTS, TTIP etc. No doubt it is this that the Tories and the Labour right wing have in mind when they say that Corbyn will make labour “unelectable”. The idea seems to be that the outcome of a parliamentary election is subject to the approval of such authorities as these. We shall cross these bridges as we come to them.


Nationalistion


10/8/2015


 Let us be realistic about Corbyn’s mention of clause 4. It all depends on what he means by “something different”. This is what it says:


   “To secure for the producers by hand and brain the full fruits of their industry, and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible, upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.”


   This was drafted in 1918 in a panic stricken response to the Russian Revolution of 1917, in order to lead the working class away from the same revolutionary road, and the job was given to the leader of the class collaborationist Fabians, Bernard Shaw.


   Whilst the clause has all the appearance of a socialist measure, in fact it is quite the opposite, for the concept of “the best obtainable system of popular administration“, is devoid of any real meaning.  It conceals the class nature of the struggle for socialism and, crucially, diverts attention away from the question of the capitalist state which will protect the capitalist system with all the means at its disposal, by dictatorial means if necessary.  


   Whilst the common ownership of the means of production is the basic principle of socialism, the question of the means by which it is to be achieved, and indeed why it should be necessary in the first place, has never been worked out by the Labour Party.  It remains simply a Utopian idea. The Labour Party has always adopted such measures in the same way as the Tories, to rescue an important private industry from bankruptcy at public cost and return it to private enterprise after the rescue. RBS is a typical example.




The Dialectics of the Split in the Labour Party


31/7/2015


At the time of the last split, in 1981, it was the right wing that was cause when the gang of four, Roy Jenkins, David Owen, William Rogers and Shirly Williams, left to form the Liberal Democratic Party with the Liberals. They pledged to “heal the division of the classes”, a ridiculous conception since capitalism is in essence a class divided society. Only socialism can negate this dialectical opposition.


The effect of this cause was ultimately New Labour, the Blairite idea that the Labour Party itself could perform this miracle.


The cause of the coming split is the left wing, which identifies itself, although in a Utopian way, with the material interests of the working class. This reciprocal development is a dialectical leap, the negation of the first negation.


Great sea changes in the political life of Britain are imminent, but it is too early to make concrete predictions.



  Labour and the Future


  26/7/2015


   Great historical processes move according to their own timescale. The deep political consequences of the crash of world capitalism in 2008 are only now manifesting themselves in Britain.


   The Principles upon which the Labour Party rested, class collaboration and Fabian gradualism, are at last seen as wholly unsustainable.   As a direct result of the crash the Labour Party is heading for a split, perhaps the first of several.


The right-wing will probably form a sort of christian democratic party and will receive an influx from the Liberal Democratic Party which will eventually cease to exist.


   What happens to the left is less predictable, but one thing is certain. If it is to have any future as a leadership of the working class it must negate the principles upon which the Labour Party rested. Fabian reformist class collaboration has now proved to be the death of the Labour Party. Financially, the new party must free itself form the patronage of capitalists and rest entirely on the working class. Politically, it must negate the dichotomy between the Parliamentary Party and the Party as such. Every member, MP’s and even Prime Ministers, must remain strictly under the discipline of the Annual Conference.



 Different Kinds of Democracy


14/7/2015


There is currently a chorus of complaints emanating from “left” individuals and organisations concerning the loss of the democratic systems and rights we have become used to during the progressive stages of the capitalist system, which have now passed into history. This situation, it is understood, is the result of the life and death need of the capitalist class to increase the rate of exploitation of labour to an impossible degree.


However, it is clear that there is no real understanding of this situation because the universal response is to concentrate entirely on the defence  of this democracy and the rights related to it, as if it were  some supra-historical principle which can survive the imminent demise of world capitalism.


 But the last thing we need to do is to defend and perpetuate this system of democracy, because it is essentially bourgeois democracy, the parliamentary kind, part of the state and entirely bound up with the capitalist economic system, and as such a means of oppressing and exploiting the working class.


Whatever rights and advantages we have won under this system are entirely the fruit of our own struggles. Admittedly they have served us well in the struggles for reforms and better living conditions, but they can no longer serve us in this way because capitalism can no long grant reforms. It can only take them away. Greece is a case in point – the referendum counted for nothing.


But bourgeois parliamentary democracy and the rights we have under it can still serve a purpose, all be it a very limited and temporary one. They provide a means to struggle for new rights, the kind of rights appropriate to the new economic system which is battering at the door of history, socialist planned economy.


These rights are the rights of public ownership of the means of production, and its corresponding political system, soviet democracy, a fundamentally different system of democratic representation and rights which is based on working class state power.


The necessary revolutionary practice is to defend the old bourgeois parliamentary system and the strictly limited rights related to it only as a means to put an end to them for ever when it becomes possible to do so, by way of a revolutionary overthrow of the parliamentary system and the establishment of soviet democracy.


   This is why “left” individuals such as Jeremy Corbyn generally become, at a certain point, such dangerous enemies of the working class. Their role is to keep us in the shackles of bourgeois parliamentary democracy which, if we fail to make the leap to working class soviet democracy, will inevitably be transformed into the most violent capitalist police state dictatorship. Either way, bourgeois parliamentary democracy is a thing of the past.


Much has been written in the past to explain all this. Lenin’s “The State and Revolution”, and “The Proletarian Revolution and  Renegade Kautsky”, first come to mind.


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